By Alaa Albaba
Bab idDeir Art Gallery, Bethlehem
The exhibition runs until July 31
Kitchens is a new solo exhibition by the artist Alaa Albaba in which he continues his journey of exploring Al-Am’ari Refugee Camp, where he lives. Yet, with extraordinary courage, he moves this time from the camp’s architectural details and “zooms his lens in” to gain a direct view of the heart of those buildings – their kitchens.
For the last several years, the artist has been working on a collection entitled The Camp, in which the social order of Al-Am’ari is explored as it pertains to shared spaces. Aerial views of the camp reveal an urban area in disrepair, where a vertical architectural chronology exposes generational shifts in the idea of permanence. As an organic continuity of this process, the artist has now produced Kitchens.
This collection presents strong and realistic renderings of kitchens with their various utensils, including plates, shelves, cans, and other details that can be seen or are hidden in the background. However, Alaa broke with reality by using background colors that are drawn from his own imagination: condensed, stark colors that not only add visual beauty but also force the viewer to go beyond the details and techniques to hear the rhythms of the spaces and utilities.
Kitchens constitute a new, unfamiliar topic and are used by the artist as a metaphor to reflect on the social context of the camp. Alaa successfully shows the camp’s highly controversial status through a collection that combines beauty with roughness, simplicity with chaos, vibrant colors with redundancy.
Alaa Albaba, born in Jerusalem in 1985 and raised in Al Am’ari Refugee Camp, graduated from the International Academy of Art Palestine in 2010. He has participated in many local and international exhibitions and art residencies and established ON THE WALL Studio in Al-Am’ari Camp.